Nineteen countries have extended the ban on exports of 25 food products until December 2023, causing an increase in the food prices in Bangaldesh and elsewhere in the world.
The prices of some import-oriented food products, including onion, ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin, tomatoes, carrot and some other spices, increased manyfold in Bangladesh due to the restriction.
This decision has also severely affected the global food supply chain, most notably affecting the food security of developing nations.
Bangladesh has to import rice, wheat, spices, edible oil, oil seeds, pulses, sugar, and dairy and milk products, according to Bangladesh Bank data.
Food Secretary Ismiel Hossain told the Daily Sun that food imports restriction always has an impact.
The government is searching for alternative sources for importing essential food products, he said, adding that the government is also discussing with the Indian government regarding import of food products.
According to the Food Export & Fertiliser Restrictions Tracker, items on the list of restrictions include commodities such as wheat, rice, vegetable oil, pulses, and onions, among others.
Bangladesh relies on various imports from countries, including India, Russia, Morocco, and Argentina, that have instituted bans and export taxes on agricultural and food products. India is a particularly significant source for many of these essential commodities. However, the restrictions have caused essential commodity prices to surge manifold in the global market, resulting in a sharp escalation in the cost of daily essentials in Bangladesh.
According to the tracker of IFPRI, India imposed a ban on the export of broken rice, non-basmati rice, wheat, wheat flour, semolina, and maida in 2022, until December 31.
India imposed a 40 per cent export duty on onion on August 26 that will continue until December 31, 2023, a gazette notification from the Indian Ministry of Finance Revenue Department said.
Bangladesh imported 1.05 million tonnes of rice and 3.87 million tonnes of wheat in FY 2022-23, according to the Ministry of Food.
The country imported 299,195 tonnes of onion from June 5 to August 8 this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Bangladesh has an import dependency for six major products: rice, wheat, sugar, onion, ginger, and garlic, and currently imports them from countries other than India as well.
But the changing landscape of export regulations has created a complex web of dependencies and repercussions.
The country requested an annual import quota for the six products from India to protect its food security, and the discussion is underway.
Farm economist Prof ASM Golam Hafiz expressed concern, stating that the restriction threatens the food security of many countries, particularly those in the developing world. He added that the price of food has skyrocketed in countries like Bangladesh due to export limitations.
“Some of the essentials are usually not imported from the countries that ban food products export, but when they imposed a ban on export, other countries changed their import destination, increasing the demand for the products,” he said.
According to the tracker, Russia imposed a ban on the export of rice and rice groats, Algeria imposed a ban on pasta, wheat derivatives, vegetable oil, and sugar, Morocco imposed a ban on the export of tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, Tunisia imposed a ban on fruit and vegetable export, and Bangladesh imposed a ban on rice export.
Afghanistan has imposed a ban on wheat export, Azerbaijan imposed a ban on onion export, Argentina imposed a ban on beef meat, Belarus imposed a ban on the export of apples, cabbage, and onion, Burkina Faso imposed a ban on the export of miller flour, corn flour, and sorghum flour, and Cameroon has imposed a ban on cereal and vegetable oils export.
Kosovo imposed a ban on the export of wheat, corn, flour, vegetable oil, salt, and sugar; Kuwait imposed a ban on chicken meat and the export of grain and vegetable meat; Lebanon imposed a ban on the export of processed fruits, vegetables, milled grain products, sugar, and bread; and Turkey imposed a ban on beef meat, sheep meat, goat, cooking oil, red lentils, and beans.
Argentina also imposed taxes on soybean oil and soybean meal export, Russia imposed taxes on Soya beans, sunflower oil, sunflower meal, wheat, barley, and corn.
Agriculture economist Dr Jahangir Alam Khan emphasised the chaos created in the world food market by these import restrictions, mostly affecting the food security of developing countries.
He argued that developing nations should increase food diplomacy with desirable food-producing countries to secure their essential supplies.
Source: The Daily SUN.